Talk:Northern Ireland

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Former good article Northern Ireland was one of the Geography and places good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
December 16, 2005 Good article nominee Listed
September 7, 2006 Peer review Reviewed
September 19, 2007 Good article reassessment Delisted
Current status: Delisted good article
This article has been mentioned by a media organization:


Evidence list in respect of the Ulster Banner[edit]

Please provide material in the following lists without argument so we can be objective about this

Third Party Sources[edit]

Please list any sources that explicitly state that the Ulster Banner is de facto the flag of Northern Ireland

  • Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations: "The flag of the Northern Irish, the unofficial flag of the pronvice, is a white field divided by a centered red cross of St. George, bearing a centered six pointed star with a red hand below a gold crown".
  • News Letter "Before his speech accepting victory, Mr Wilson’s party colleagues cheered and waved a flag above his head; apparently a kind of medley of the Northern Irish flag, the Union Flag, and others."
  • Belfast Telegraph " Someone in Chicago even managed to conjure up a Northern Ireland flag to enshroud McIlroy."
  • Trade Marks Act 1994 - Lists "the flag of England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland or the Isle of Man" under specially protected emblems. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Eckerslike (talkcontribs) 18:42, 15 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Dorling Kindersley
  • A possible one though not sure if it meets RS
  • Scan of quoted pages Smith, Whitney, Flags and Arms Across The World, p226 - Features the flags of the UK subdivisions including the Ulster Flag to represent Northern Ireland
  • Scan of quoted pages Znamierowski, Alfred (2003). Illustrated Book of Flags: The Complete Encyclopedia of International Flags, Banners, Standards and Ensigns. London: Southwater / Anness Publishing Ltd. pp. 148–149. ISBN 978-1842158814. "Presented here are the flags of the four parts of the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)... England, National Flag, The red cross of St George on a white field... a white saltire of St Andrew has been the Scottish national symbol (since the 15th century on a blue field)... Wales, National Flag, The red dragon (Y Ddraig Goch)... white and green were the livery colours of the Welsh Prince LLewellyn... Northern Ireland, National Flag, The star representing the six counties is ensigned with the royal crown and charged with the red hand of Ulster." Miles Creagh (talk) 05:04, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Northern Ireland Foundation - Another relatively commonly used flag is the Northern Ireland flag, also referred to as the Ulster Banner.. It then goes into its official status and all but regardless calls it commonly used as well as calls it the Northern Ireland flag. Mabuska (talk) 10:51, 19 April 2017 (UTC)

Uses[edit]

Please list examples of its use in representational situations

Deprecation[edit]

Please list examples where flag is deprecated or not used where use would otherwise be expected.

  • [1] Lord Kilclooney advocates the creation of a new flag for Northern Ireland.
  • [2] The Queen used St Patrick's Saltire in her Diamond Jubilee Pageant.
  • [3] Arlene Foster says she would be happy to use the Saint Patrick's Cross.

Prohibitions[edit]

Parliamentary debates[edit]

  • 11/12/2012 Lord Kilclooney: "....In the United Kingdom, the union flag is the flag of Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland; but Scotland, Wales and England also have their own local flags. Would it not be a good idea, given that flags are a divisive issue in Northern Ireland, to put our minds together to get a flag—as well as the union jack—to which Roman Catholics and Protestants, unionists and nationalists, and anyone can give joint loyalty? So far, we have no Northern Ireland flag. Is it not time we started to design a flag that would appeal to everyone?"
  • 21/11/2000 David Trimble: "Interestingly, in 1922, when the Royal Ulster Constabulary was being formed, the then Unionist Government proposed that there be a new badge, which would have been, one might even say, unambiguously Unionist, as it would have embodied what we call the Northern Ireland flag surmounted with the crown."

Comments on the evidence list or third party sources[edit]

  • Note: The Flag Regulations 2000 make no reference to the Ulster Banner. The relevance is thus the interpretation of the editor. Eckerslike (talk) 17:36, 16 April 2017 (UTC)
"Except as provided by these Regulations, no flag shall be flown at any government building at any time." (source) As you say, the regulations make no reference to the Ulster Banner and so under UK law it is prohibited from being flown at any government buildings at any time in Northern Ireland. --Tóraí (talk) 22:27, 16 April 2017 (UTC)
  • I still don't see any third party source which says the banner is the def facto flag of Northern Ireland. I see examples of use only ----Snowded TALK 17:50, 16 April 2017 (UTC)
Both the first two sources refer to it as the Flag of Northern Ireland Eckerslike (talk) 18:02, 16 April 2017 (UTC)
Not really. The Brittanica does not use it in the article on Northern Ireland, and says it is unofficial in the article on the Flag (which is the reference). The second article says it is the flag of the Northern Irish, and lists other flags in the same paragraph .... ----Snowded TALK 18:30, 16 April 2017 (UTC)
Except on the second source, the other flags mentioned are not referred to as the Northern Irish flag, only the Ulster Banner is called as such. It says the Ulster Banner is the flag of the Northern Irish and later goes on to talk about the Orange Order as the largest organisation in NI. The C of E God Save the Queen! (talk) 18:41, 16 April 2017 (UTC)
The publication is "Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations" not state or county, and it talks about the "Northern Irish" not "Northern Ireland". Dmcq (talk) 20:16, 16 April 2017 (UTC)
It refers to it as the "unofficial flag of the province" as well. Eckerslike (talk) 20:21, 16 April 2017 (UTC)
It does, which is not the same thing as de-facto. The source is a book by an independent researcher which doesn't appear to have any institutional backing but its citations are OK. so in so far as it goes it is useful. However it identifies other flags in use and also places it in the context of the Troubles. In the case of Wales and England there are no competing flags, nor any substantive dispute whereas here there is. To me that says there is support to say that it has been used as an unofficial flag in the body of the article, linked to the Flags order (which says only Union Jack and conspicuously does not allow for the Ulster Banner) but not to place it in the information box. ----Snowded TALK 20:44, 16 April 2017 (UTC)
They are not competing in the claim of being the national flag. The Orange order one is just listed as the flag of the largest organisation in NI with no disclaimer as to if this is a government organisation or not; thus the source is not claiming the OO flag is the flag of NI, just that it is that of its largest organisaton by membership. The C of E God Save the Queen! (talk) 08:15, 17 April 2017 (UTC)
Expect the goal posts of what's acceptable to be continually moved as has been happening. Unofficial is as good as de facto especially if it proves common usage and the fact if it was official we wouldn't need sources for de facto. At the end of the day whilst consensus is what is needed it does not need to be universal and if there are onlymone or two left opposing then even the biggest objector can ultimately be ignored at the end of the day if they are being unreasonable. Mabuska (talk) 13:15, 17 April 2017 (UTC)
Lets focus on the evidence shall we? Once we have that and we AGREE the terms of an RfC we can resolve it, you're commentary on the motivations of other editors is not helpful (or accurate) Mabuska. We can leave it for a few days to see what else is posted by way of evidence and commentary. I think we then need to bring in a neutral Admin to manage agreement on the language of the RfC. ----Snowded TALK 06:03, 18 April 2017 (UTC)
Plenty of references saying the Ulster Banner is the unofficial flag of Northern Ireland above, along with widespread evidence of its use as such. But support bringing in neutral admin. Jon C. 10:30, 18 April 2017 (UTC)
@Snowded: no offence but your personal history on this topic over the years and your highly biased and partisan views on it deny you the right of acting as the self-appointed adjudicator of what is valid or not source wise. After all you called it a sectarian flag (highly dubious, shall we post the picture of Catholic Rory McIlroy draped it in and smiling again?) despite providing no evidence at all other than your own personal viewpoint. In asking for a source for the Queens birthday pageant despite having watched the clip before (as evident by your comments Talk:Flag_of_Northern_Ireland/Archive_3#Video_as_source here) shows a high amount of disingenuity. These are all valid concerns and deny you of your pretense of non-bias on this issue. If anything the Reliable Sources Noticeboard should be asked to debate whether the above are valid or not, not you. Mabuska (talk) 10:38, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
@Mabuska:Try not to make false accusations. I didn't ask for a source someone else did. Having said that my having seen it before would not constitute a source anyway. Feel free to either apologise or delete the accusation and this comment if you can't manage that ----Snowded TALK 18:05, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
There are many additional sources relevant to this discussion in the prior discussion to be found here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Countries_of_the_United_Kingdom#In_support_of_the_flags_of_England.2C_Northern_Ireland.2C_Scotland_and_Wales_to_all_be_displayed_together

Personally, I find two reliable source(reference to Whitney Smith & Znamierowski listed above), authored by preeminent vexillologists, to be quite persuasive:

Miles Creagh (talk) 05:04, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, Miles. Both Smith and Znamierowski are respected vexillologists and therefore reliable sources. Jon C. 09:01, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
Another one to add to the list of precedents elsewhere on Wikipedia: Réunion, whose official flag is that of France. The unofficial Lö Mahavéli, which is flown by several city councils (as in NI), is shown as the flag of the territory in the absence of an official unique one. Jon C. 12:19, 27 April 2017 (UTC)

Proposed compromise[edit]

Considering Snowded and GoodDay are intent on ignoring my requests for views on a potential compromise solution, and other objectors in the same discussion overlooking it or intentionally not commenting on it I am reposting it here in its own section so that it can be easily seen by all and discussed if anyone wishes too.

As the main sticking point for the objectors is the fact the Ulster Banner is no longer de jure and thus in their eyes invalid for use, then why not simply provide the date that it was de jure such as I have done in an example in my User:Mabuska/sandbox. Maybe make the years bigger and add the hatnote that was added to the Ulster Banner at the start of this discussion and what complaints can you have? Its easy to reference that this was the de jure flag between those years so there can be no sourcing issues either.

Most of us seem to agree that there is no need for the Union Flag as that is the flag of the UK as a whole not for a specific region, and removing it and only using the Ulster Banner keeps it consistent with the other three UK constituent country articles. Mabuska (talk) 10:45, 19 April 2017 (UTC)

Agree with leaving out the UK flag. @Banner: it has its place in an article about flags in Northern Ireland, but as it is not the official flag of N.I., I would keep the situation without flags in the infobox. Cuoregr (talk) 10:56, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
I agree with using the Ulster Banner in the infobox with annotations as it makes it clear. However I wouldn't rule out the Union Flag if we continuously have biased objections as that is the default flag in the absence of one as we do it for Akrotiri and Dhekelia. It should be one or the other but it would be better if we use the Ulster Banner. The C of E God Save the Queen! (talk) 11:16, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
@Cuoregr: @The C of E: - just to point out in case it was missed, the main point of the compromise is the addition of when the flag was official. Mabuska (talk) 11:57, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
The point wasn't missed, but IMHO it's better to have no flag as long as there is no official flag. I do like the efforts to reach a compromise, but I fail to see why a flag that is forbidden to be flown from (some/all?) NI official buildings should be on this prominent spot on Wikipedia. In case you're wondering: this has nothing to do with taking sides. I love my own flag, but I would also like to see it removed from places where it doesn't belong. Cuoregr (talk) 12:48, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
I am not opposing the compromise, I support it. The C of E God Save the Queen! (talk) 12:53, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
The British flag United Kingdom should be excluded from infobox. This isn't the article United Kingdom. As for the Ulster Banner? Either it presently is the flag of Northern Ireland or it is not. If it is, put Northern Ireland in the infobox, otherwise leave it out. GoodDay (talk) 13:43, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
By that rationale we should then follow the example of Akrotiri and Dhekelia and use the Union Flag as they use it by default owing to the lack of an official individual flag. The C of E God Save the Queen! (talk) 13:59, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
My concern is the UK constituent countries. The Union Jack isn't in the infoboxes of England, Scotland & Wales, therefore it shouldn't be the infobox of Northern Ireland. GoodDay (talk) 14:02, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
In the body of the article but not the information box is the most sensible, However the whole idea is to assemble all the sources, get a neutral admin to manage the agreement of a text for an RFI then see. Show some patience ----Snowded TALK 18:07, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
There is no real compromise between having the Ulster Banner in the infobox and not having the Ulster Banner in the infobox. Saying it is de facto or whatever is not a compromise, one might as well say putting the text in a different font or size is a compromise. It used to be the flag of Northern Ireland and it is still referred to that because nothing better has been substituted, but it is not the flag of Northern Ireland and it does not enjoy general support as the flag of Northern Ireland. I am not convinced even Unionists in general are happy with it being waved around in their name.
I would be happy with either no flag or the Union Flag being in the box. There was a referendum and the majority supported the Union. There is an argument about it not being specific but until an actual flag of Northern Ireland comes along I think that is a reasonable choice. Dmcq (talk) 20:24, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
Not sure. I support either the Jack or the Banner being displayed, depending on whether we consider de iure or de facto to be superior for representation of administrative entities.--Sıgehelmus (Talk) |д=) 17:54, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
There is a symbols section in the article. It has the flax plant (a relatively new symbol) but not the Ulster Banner. I would support the inclusion of the Ulster Banner in that section given its frequent use to represent Northern Ireland in sport. But not any other flag. And I'd remove the coat of arms from the history section, as its inclusion there could be perceived as pointed.
I don't think it's possible to have the Ulster Banner in the infobox so long as it remains prohibited from being display on government buildings in Northern Ireland. Its prohibition makes clear that it is not a de jure flag of Northern Ireland - and if a flag is prohibited from display on government buildings in a territory then it's pretty hard to claim with confidence that it is the de facto flag of that territory either.
I think the most sensible position is to recognise that at this time Northern Ireland has no flag (no more or less than the island of Ireland has sporting teams, but, at this time, no flag). --Tóraí (talk) 19:41, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
Geographic areas normally don't have their own flags though.--Sıgehelmus (Talk) |д=) 20:06, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
They also don't normally have sporting organisation either. In both cases, Ireland and Northern Ireland, we're dealing with exceptional examples.
The reason I mentioned it is because a/the main argument in favour of adding the Ulster Banner to the infobox here appears to be that some sporting organisations use it to represent Northern Ireland. Likewise, all-island sporting organisations (e.g. GAA, IRFU, Golfing Union of Ireland, Irish Amateur Boxing Association, etc.) have used the Four Provinces Flag, so the same argument would apparently apply.
I'm not convinced in either case. We use those flags in articles relating to those specific sports and organisations. But where it is not specific, such as here, we don't. --Tóraí (talk) 08:11, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
I take it you are talking about the 2000 Flag Regulations. Could you give the extract that references the Ulster Banner? Eckerslike (talk) 20:56, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
The relevant section is "Prohibition on the flying of flags other than in accordance with the Regulations. 9. Except as provided by these Regulations, no flag shall be flown at any government building at any time." The flags that may be flown on various occasions are: the Union Flag, the Royal Standard, the European Flag, and the national flag of the country of a visiting head of state. Dmcq (talk) 22:29, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
So there is no reference. An accurate description is not that the UB is prohibited but that it is not one of the flags mentioned as allowed to be flown from a Britsh government building. The relevance of this to the unofficial flag of Northern Ireland is therefore pure speculation by the editor. Eckerslike (talk) 23:23, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
Plus it is allowed to be flown over local government buildings, and indeed it is done so by a number. The C of E God Save the Queen! (talk) 07:14, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
Eckerslike, flags not provided for by the regulations are prohibited under section 9 of the UK regulations ("Prohibition on the flying of flags..."). The Ulster Banner is not one of these provided for and is therefore prohibited. --Tóraí (talk) 07:37, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
You can read the PDF attached to [4] for the current government interpretation of the various flags regulations in the UK. That explicitly mentions all the other flags allowed around the UK like Saint Georges flag or flags of some counties - but no Ulster Banner. Dmcq (talk) 08:25, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
Thank you for providing that document. I have been searching for it without sucess. In regards to the flying of consituent country flags it states the following
"St George’s Day takes place on 23 April each year, and under the current guidance, the cross of St George may be flown from UK Government buildings ... The Union Flag takes precedence over all national flags and the cross of St George is not flown on any other days"
"St Andrew’s Day takes place on 30 November each year and under the current guidance, the cross of St Andrew may be flown from UK Government buildings on St Andrew’s Day"
"St David’s Day takes place on 1 March each year and under the current guidance, the Red Dragon may be flown from UK Government buildings on St David’s Day"
Thus the national flags of England, Scotland and Wales are prohibited from flying from govenment buildings unless it is a day celabrating the patron saint. Northern Ireland doesn't have a patron saint thus there is no day when the flag is flown. Should we remove the flags from the other constituent countries because of this prohibition? Eckerslike (talk) 17:09, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
I say we should maintain consistency so if no flag here then no flag at those articles. Mabuska (talk) 17:15, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
Northern Ireland's patron saint is Saint Patrick, hence St. Patrick's Cross. I don't know precisely how that is legislated alongside tradition, but St. Patrick is devoted to NI.--Sıgehelmus (Talk) |д=) 18:46, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
Neither Saint David's nor Saint Patrick's flags are counted as national flags in the regulations. The national flag of Wales is the Red Dragon, but the Welsh Assembly also flies Saint David's flag on his day. There is no national flag for Northern Ireland and no provision to even fly Saint Patrick's flag. Dmcq (talk) 23:17, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
Nowhere does the guidance document say the flags of England, Scotland and Wales are prohibited from being flown on government buildings. In fact, it says the very opposite:
  • "...the cross of St George may be flown from UK Government buildings..."
  • "...the cross of St Andrew may be flown from UK Government buildings..."
  • "...the Red Dragon may be flown from UK Government buildings..."
In contrast to this, UK law prohibits the Ulster Banner from being flown from UK Government buildings in Northern Ireland at any time. And the guidance document from the UK government on UK flags makes no mention of the Ulster Banner. --Tóraí (talk) 23:41, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
Interestingly the flag of Saint Patrick is allowed to be flown on non-governmental buildings without requiring the consent of the local council. However there is no such provision for the Ulster Banner. Dmcq (talk) 11:21, 22 April 2017 (UTC)
And I went to a wedding recently where they had a big flag with the family crests on a flagpole on the top of the building. So that even followed the regulations about not requiring consent except I'm sure it was more than two square meters in size :) Dmcq (talk) 11:42, 22 April 2017 (UTC)

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